The symbols CSS descriptor of the @counter-style at-rule is used to specify the symbols for creating counter representations in the specified counter system. Specifying this descriptor is mandatory when the value of the system descriptor is cyclic, numeric, alphabetic, symbolic, or fixed.


symbols: A B C D E;
symbols: "\24B6" "\24B7" "\24B8" D E;
symbols: "0" "1" "2" "4" "5" "6" "7" "8" "9";
symbols: url("one.svg") url("two.svg") url("three.svg");
symbols: indic-numbers;


The symbols descriptor is specified as a list of one or more space-separated <symbol> values.


Specifies the symbol to use within the counter system. Each symbol in the list can be either a <string>, an <image>, or a <custom-ident>. The <image> value can, in turn, be specified as a <url>() or <gradient>.

Note: When using an identifier for a symbol, note that ASCII non-letters such as *, ", and \ are not considered identifiers. They must be either quoted as a string or escaped.


A symbol can be a string, image, or identifier. It is used within the @counter-style at-rule.

When the value of the system descriptor is cyclic, numeric, alphabetic, symbolic, or fixed, the symbols descriptor must be specified. For the additive system, use the additive-symbols descriptor instead to specify the symbols.

While a space between quoted symbols is not required, it makes CSS more readable. To use a quote as a symbol, either escape the quote character or enclose the character within different quotes, such as "'".

When defining symbols with identifiers instead of strings, be sure to use identifier syntax rules. For example, as noted above, ASCII non-letters such as * are not identifiers and must be either quoted or escaped. Hex escape characters are followed by a space. This space may look like the space separating two identifiers, but it enables digits to follow hex-escaped characters. This means that two spaces must be included after a hex-escaped identifier to separate it from the next identifier. For example, it is better to use the string "\2A 1" instead of \2A 1 with two spaces, as your code tools might remove double spaces. It is generally safer to quote identifiers that need to be escaped or use strings.

Formal definition

Related at-rule@counter-style
Initial valuen/a (required)
Computed valueas specified

Formal syntax

symbols = 

<symbol> =
<string> |
<image> |

<image> =
<url> |

<url> =
<url()> |

<url()> =
url( <string> <url-modifier>* ) |

<src()> =
src( <string> <url-modifier>* )


Setting counter symbols

In this example, the list of values for the symbols descriptor include letters (A, D, E), a number within quotes ("1"), and a hex-escape identifier within quotes ("\24B7") for the character .


<ul class="list">


@counter-style symbols-example {
  system: fixed;
  symbols: A "1" "\24B7" D E;

.list {
  list-style: symbols-example;



CSS Counter Styles Level 3
# counter-style-symbols

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also